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You have discovered, maybe through an anonymous tip or their bloodshot eyes and irrational behavior, that your young person has been drinking alcohol. It started by going to a few parties with their friends.

You thought they would never drink - so did they. It may be just a few beers, it may be getting drunk once in a while, or it may be a real drinking problem.

Seventy-nine percent of students say it is easy to get alcohol. Seventy-seven percent say alcohol is common at parties. Forty-one percent say some of their friends have a problem with alcohol, and 22 percent have ridden in a car with someone who has been drinking.

Before you fly off the handle and destroy the possibility of a relationship with your young person, take a deep breath.

Realize they are still the same person on the inside as they were before they began drinking. They are still your child. And they will remember the way you respond to this intense crisis for the rest of their life.

What exactly should you do? Most importantly, think through how to approach the situation and really talk about it with your young person. You don't want to come off as a parent who just says, "Don't do it again," and that's all you have to say.

There is more going on in their life and their mind that has pushed them to this level.

Ask yourself this question, "How much have I really taught them about drinking - the physical dangers and the emotional effects?" It is easy for parents simply to tell their young person not to drink; but it is another thing to teach them why they shouldn't based upon principles rather than just because you said so.

While expressing the fact that, although you do not approve of or like their behavior, you still love and appreciate them, it is important they understand both are very true.

Just because you do not like their behavior does not mean you do not like them. It seems like a small distinction to us, but it is huge to a young person.

Jesus did things like that all the time, as with the woman who was caught in adultery. He did not condemn her or put her down, but at the same time, He was very clear. He told her, "Go and sin no more" (See John 8:11).

Think about the disciplinary measures you need to implement. Don't just say, "Don't do that again." If they are going against your wishes in doing this, there ought to be a price to pay - working around the house, giving up privileges, restricting phone calls, etc.

Tell them drinking is wrong and you do not want them doing it, but back that up with consequences that will make them think.

Do not discipline out of anger! But think about what will make your young person feel the sting of having gone against your wishes.

Educate your teen by sharing the following:
According to research, in 1993 an average of 14,000 Americans per hour got behind the wheel after drinking too much. Alcohol-related crash deaths totaled more than 17,000 in 1995. One of every 12 instances involved an underage drinker.

Find some local stories of young people who were driving drunk and have gone to jail or were involved in a tragic car accident.

The Bible says in Proverbs 20:1, "Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise." The Bible plainly tells us that if you drink, you are going to be mocked. You are going to do stupid things - things that you may not remember and will likely regret.

God designed you to be in charge of your mind and in charge of your life. In Genesis 1:26 God says He gives us "rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." He gave us dominion. He put us in charge of the world.

When you choose to drink, you give charge of your brain over to a drug. A drug is now in charge of you. Alcohol is now in charge of your brain. You are not taking responsibility for your life. You begin the process of slowly flushing your life down the toilet.

Wine is a mocker. Ultimately, the very alcohol you drink will end up mocking you and laughing in your face because it destroyed your life. You become a slave to it. Romans 6:16 says, "Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey - whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?"

If you choose to obey and submit yourself to alcohol, you are no longer a slave to the Lord. You are no longer the master of your own destiny. You have become the slave of a fermented grape. Drinking may seem like the tough, cool thing to do, but ultimately you degenerate as a human being.

Discuss object lessons as you drive by bars or when you see alcohol in stores. Say things like, "There are people in there right now who are hurting and broken, not knowing that the real answer is to give their lives to God. There are people in there who could have been doctors, lawyers, authors, or inventors, but they flushed their potential down the toilet of alcohol."

Develop this process of teaching, training, and constantly expounding on the craziness and foolishness of using alcohol, and it will help your teen develop their own conviction. They will get to where they are no longer refraining from it only because you asked them to, but because they see it will wreck their life.

Source: Rescue Manual For Parents by Ron Luce.
Excerpt permission granted by Albury Publishing

Author Biography

Ron Luce
Web site: Ron Luce
Ron Luce was the co-founder's and president of Teen Mania Ministries from 1986-2015. Ron and his wife Katie dreamed to raise up young people who would change the world.

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